There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the last two years of the pandemic have been very challenging for all industries and sectors. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on air transport and the industries that are affiliated with it. Tourism was hit hard with so many countries closing their borders imposing travel restrictions and the decimation in travel demands. The impact wasn’t just economic or financial, this has affected the way we live our everyday lives.
When the crisis hit, the ICAO MID Office established communication and open dialogue with the regional Member States with the objectives to reduce the risks of the spread of COVID-19 by air transport to protect the health of air travelers and aviation personnel.
Despite the challenges and obstacles, ICAO’s MID Office managed to successfully implement the annual 2021 regional work programme as planned with regional Member States and international and regional organizations. I would like to thank all our Member States for their effective cooperation despite the COVID outbreak, and I will briefly highlight the ICAO MID Office most important activities done through 2021 alongside with 2022 activities and priorities.
Key Activities of 2021 include:
- The ICAO MID Office has been actively following up on the status of implementation of the CART (ICAO Council’s Aviation Recovery Task Force) Recommendations and Take-off Guidance Recommendations through the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Implementation Centre (CRRIC) and providing required assistance to Member States for posting of relevant information; supporting urgent needs for the global supply chain, humanitarian flights and repatriation flights and supporting the planning for the post COVID-19 pandemic recovery and the restart of aviation operations; and deployment of ICAO Implementation Packages (iPACKs) in coordination with ICAO HQ. The ICAO MID COVID-19 webpage served as a useful platform for sharing of COVID-19 related experiences and information.
- In order to assist the Regional Member States, the ICAO MID Office has conducted and been involved in various meetings. Some of these included the Air Cargo Digitalization in COVID-19 Times webinar, the CORSIA Regional Workshop on MRV requirements and ENV tools, the ACI-ICAO Global Reporting Format (GRF) for Runway Surface Conditions for Airport Operators trainings, the AFI/MID Air Transport Symposium jointly with the ESAF and WACAF Regional Office; and the ATFM and FIFA World Cup 2022 Task Forces to ensure safe and efficient handling of the expected high volume of traffic during the event in a collaborative manner.
- Moreover, a number of documents, plans, and reports have been successfully endorsed, namely the MID Regional Aviation Safety Plan (MID-RASP), the MENA Accident & Incident Investigation Regional Cooperation Mechanism (MENA ARCM) MoU, and the MID Region Air Navigation Report.
- With regard to capacity building different activities that were conducted, an ICAO Aviation Security Certified Instructor Course, the ICAO Risk Management Workshop, the ADS-B Webinar, and the Month of Knowledge for the Future of ANS (MOKFANS) for the second year, jointly with GCAA UAE and ACAO.
- In addition, ICAO MID Office effectively assisted CASP-MID Member States including but not limited to a USAP-CMA assistance mission/workshop and OJT for National Inspectors.
Key Activities and priorities for 2022 include:
- Focus on monitoring the impact of COVID-19 and provide necessary assistance, in collaboration with concerned stakeholders, to support Member States to manage the COVID-19 crisis and implement necessary mitigation measures.
- Support the implementation of the MID NCLB strategy.
- Coordinate and organize the 6th meeting of the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA-MID/6) as an in-person meeting, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab of Emirates, from 1-3 November 2022.
- Provide the necessary assistance to Member States for the development of their National Aviation Safety Plans (NASPs) and National Air Navigation Plans (NANPs) further to the endorsement of the MID-RASP and the new Edition of the MID Region Air Navigation Strategy.
- Support the FIFA World Cup 2022 Task Force activities and foster States’ and stakeholders’ cooperation and collaboration to ensure smooth, safe and efficient airspace management during the event.
- Provide necessary support to expedite the launch/start of operations of the MENA RSOO and implementation of the MENA ARCM.
- Enhance the Regional ATS route Network and contingency planning and improve regional ANS cyber security resilience.
- Provide the necessary assistance to states for the implementation of ICAO provisions related to environment protection.